Electronics are a big part of our day, and we tend to go through them fairly quickly. Our electronics are made of valuable resources and materials such as metals, plastic, and glass, which take a lot of energy to mine and manufacture. Many electronics can be refurbished or recycled, but what happens to all of the other electronics that no longer work or are outdated?
If not disposed of properly, they can end up in landfills and can become very harmful to the environment. Luckily, there are small steps we can all take to reduce our e-waste.
What is e-Waste?
Electronic waste, otherwise known as “e-Waste,” “e-scrap,” or “end-of-life electronics,” are any electronics such as old phones, computers, or tablets that are at or are nearing the end of their useful life. These are often discarded, donated, or given to a recycler. Depending on how old the electronics are, some may be refurbished to use again while others can be stripped of their precious rare metals to be recycled into new electronics.
Harmful Effects of e-Waste
Roughly 40 million metric tons of electronic waste are produced globally each year, and about 13% of that weight is recycled mostly by pickers in developing countries. Informal recycling markets in places such as China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the Philippines handle anywhere from 50% to 80% of all electronic waste by shredding, burning, and taking apart the products.
Electronic waste can affect us more than we realize because it contains a variety of toxic components. When these metals are being burned, they create very fine particulate matter that can lead to health issues such as pulmonary and cardiovascular disease, birth defects, brain, heart, liver, kidney, and skeletal system damage if you are exposed to them for too long.
What Electronics Can You Recycle?
There is a long list of acceptable items that count as e-waste. Most electronics such as fax machines, keyboards, printers, routers, surge protectors, game systems, and TV’s are fine to recycle. However, here are a few items that you cannot bring to a recycler:
- Air conditioners
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Fluorescent lamps and tubes
- Freezers and refrigerators
- Incandescent light bulbs
- Smoke detectors
- Thermometers and thermostats
If an item requires recycling and you can’t do it yourself, many towns offer free local pick-up programs. All you have to do is call their number, and they take care of the rest!
Ways to Reduce Your e-Waste
Cell Phone Refurbishment
Did you know that instead of replacing your smart phone every six months, you can take it to get refurbished? A majority of the replacement parts that are used to repair it are the same ones that are used on new phones, so your phone could actually be restored to the way you bought it.
Resist the Urge to Upgrade
Retailers cash in on your excitement for the latest and greatest technology every year. But it helps to take a step back and ask yourself if you actually need that new phone, that new TV, or that new laptop. Taking care of the devices you already have and using them until they are no longer functioning will save you money and reduce your contribution to e-waste.
Use the Cloud
One of the easiest ways to reduce your e-waste is to stop relying on external hard drives like flash drives. Try storing your files in the cloud using services like Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud. This way you can access all your files when you need them and have all your data backed up across multiple platforms.
For more information on Santanna’s energy plans or to enroll in a plan, call 630-552-6881 or go online to: www.santannaenergyservices.com
About Santanna Energy Services
Santanna Energy Services located in Austin, TX and Bolingbrook IL, is a Natural Gas and Electricity Provider for Residential, Commercial, Industrial and more. The company was founded in 1988 and has been in business for 32 years and growing!